Last night, MTV put on its annual Video Music Awards. The ceremony lasted about two and a half hours, and during that time, less than ten total awards were given out. Ordinarily, such events tend to drag on because they have too many awards or because they have a chatty host or because the winners speak for way too long, but the VMAs don’t have any of those problems. Instead, the ceremony runs two and a half hours because an incredible number of people are asked to perform.
From Miley Cyrus to Macklemore, the music industry’s brightest stars took the stage one after another, and most of them weren’t exactly quick either. Between his solo performance and the N Sync reunion, Justin Timberlake was on stage for about fifteen minutes.
Judging by the crazy amount of news coverage of Miley’s outlandish performance and the ‘N Sync reunion, it’s easy to see why network executives like giving so much emphasis to the performances. People clearly do tune in to see how crazy Lady Gaga might get or how Katy Perry might sound singing “Roar” live for the first time. Those moments are what the show advertises, and they’re how asses are put in the seats for the following year.
It’s still a little odd, however, because the whole idea of bringing everyone together is to give out awards. Because there are so few of them, the moments they actually hand them out are a little uncomfortable and weird. This year, the set designers didn’t even give the presenters or the winners a podium to talk behind. They just walked onto the stage like they were performing at a concert and addressed the crowd, often in a very brief and poorly rehearsed thank you speech.
I don’t disagree with MTV playing to the VMA’s strengths with the proportion of time allotted, but I can’t help shaking the feeling that it might be a more balanced ceremony if they added an extra half hour and about 4 more awards. That would allow for more even spacing throughout the broadcast without sacrificing any of those oh-shit moments they look for. Besides, viewers might complain about extended award shows, but that doesn’t mean they change the channel with a half an hour left.
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